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tv   Book TV  CSPAN  February 23, 2013 3:30pm-4:30pm EST

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program. ed whitaker talks about his book american turnaround. reinventing at&t ngm in the and the way we do business in the usa. and we conclude tonight's programming at 11:00 p.m. eastern with a panel on the russian punk band who is charged with hooliganism in 2012 against vladimir putin. mr. for this weekend's television schedule. >> the former division chief of the cia's office of soviet affairs argues that our current level of spending on defense is excessive and is making us less secure. this 45 minute program is next on booktv. >> thank you for that introduction, and thank you for the invitation to come out here to discuss the book. let me say a few things about why wrote the book in the first
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place. several years ago, the secretary of defense made it known before he announced that he was going to lead the administration that he was going back to the state of washington. he was someone i follow closely. he was nominated to be the cia director in 1991, and as an obama supporter, i was shocked to find out that he was going to be kept on as the secretary of defense. what he told people, i found, and it was a major reasoning for why i wanted to write this book, what he said is that we are moving towards a smaller military. one that will do fewer things than be able to go fewer places, which he thought was a terrible thing and he added that he didn't want to be a part of that kind of a system that is going
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to retrench. my feeling has always been that we need a smaller military that will do fewer things and go to fewer places. so that is the kind of book that i wanted to write. i thought that i should do it even though others have mined a lot of this. i'm sure a lot of you are familiar with the works who wrote things like the american empire and 10 years before that, john neuhaus, one of my favorite new york writers, wrote imperial america. other books have dealt with this. the background and ascends, i have spent 42 years in the government beyond the state department, defense department, the cia. i have security clearances for that entire length of time. and i was convinced that the kind of contrarian spirit that
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you need is an intelligence officer should be taken to this field of the defense budget and the military. social security is the third rail of american politics, and i guess it is. another third rail of american politics and american policy is the defense budget. if you look at what you read in the so-called mainstream press, including the best of it, "the new york times", 85 to 90% of what we read in the paper and what we read in our magazines comes from official sources, basically people and very important positions and what they want us to read. it is very difficult for a contrarian to get into the mainstream press. i know that from personal experience. in some ways, the easiest thing to do is if you have something to say, it is to just try to draft a manuscript and see what
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happens. now, the starting point for me has to be eisenhower. everyone is familiar with the farewell address of 1961, the one of the 1961 industrial complex. i was a student in 1961 and the president of john hopkins having to be his brother. he met with students from time to time. but the press never known. he was very influential in the eisenhower administration. and he told us that when eisenhower got the draft about the military-industrial complex, it is there in his own hands in the draft of the speech. and he said it was enough to take on military industry even though it was the congress
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street source of frustration in terms of trying to talk sense to people about the size of the military establishment. which is not totally out of control. even though i have a few things to say about obama second term because having been very disappointed by the first term, i'm somewhat optimistic that he has learned lessons. being as smart as he is and as reasonable as he is and due to what happened in afghanistan and what he experience and terms of the search. i expect different things to happen, but i will get to that in a minute. the other thing that he did that was important in this frame would be the speech of the cost of arms that he gave during his first term in which he said that when we are spending these huge sums of money by the military, we are not only spending our wealth, we are spending the
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sweat of our labors, the genius of our scientists, and the hopes of our children. and he talked about how many schools and power plants you could build, what you could do with that kind of money. and he talked about a lot of things. he did not buy all of the talk about the missile gap that john kennedy unfortunately did buy into even when he was told that the information he was giving in the campaign of 1960 was false. eisenhower also talked about the dangers of permanent war, something that we should be familiar with. we have been in permanent war for the last decade. he talked about civil liberties and again, if you think of the last 10 years and the first 10
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amendments of the constitution, what have we done about the fourth amendment, when we think of the warrantless eavesdropping for the national security agency. there was the killing and some people have no problem with that. and what about this teenage son to weeks later, also an american citizen. he talks about due process. the amendment talks about a speedy trial. well, i am not talking about that, but the fact of the matter is we are approaching three years since he has been in jail and the trial is supposed to start in june. so that amendment certainly comes into play. the other night i saw "zero dark thirty", which to me started the
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wrong kind of debate. the debate should be whether we should be engaged in torture were not. the movie has a message, and fortunately even though he gives a very implicit but indirect connection, the fact of the matter is that we learn nothing from the torture and the use of waterboarding that had any important relationship to the killing of osama bin laden. one person from the cia was the retired operations officer who had been allowed to run around, talk about the importance of torture, is josé rodriguez, who is the one who destroyed tanks, who i'm told was sadistic in nature. the cia people who were involved were masked.
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as a very dangerous situation, it has been made clear by him as a former cia official. i think the civil liberties aspect is important. finally, eisenhower said something informally that was not in any of his writings. he was sitting around 80 weeks before he left the white house. he said god help the united states and the people who sit in his this chair that i'm sitting in the oval office. they do not understand the military the way that idea.
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he held off a lot of military efforts. there was a terrible area that he didn't hold up the right way with the conservatives, and that was his use of conservative action. it looks not be separated from his overall record. they started in the eisenhower administration. the coup in guatemala, the plan was part of the eisenhower administration, kennedy was dumb enough and naïve enough and inexperienced enough to dissipate in all this covert action and it really had a genesis for these terms. the point about presidents who know nothing about the military is important.
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my book, in terms of the starting point, would be the strategic opportunity this country had in 1989 to 1991 to do things differently that he didn't do, which was by having them do nothing about the military. clinton and obama and the younger bush. these four individuals made these contributions, it is no surprise that they were in the terrible situation that we find ourselves in now that has to be corrected. when we look at the george herbert walker bush administration, he had three important people at the defense department.
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it was based on just a tailored pattern of total deception and outright lies. they have put together a secret paper. instead of taking together a strategic opportunity the collapse of the soviet union in 1991, all of those things we didn't expect to see in a lifetime. i certainly didn't expect to see this a couple of us wrote about the problems and no one expected it to collapse like a house of
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cards. this opportunity you was totally not taken. it was not taken by the bush administration. there were things like the invasion of panama and one individual had been on the cia payroll for most of the time and that is a heck of a precedence to set the terms of the military. it speaks as a moderate, i think that is a favorable press. the democrat from georgia and the republican from indiana, the
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cooperative reduction was probably one of the most important congressional initiatives that we have ever seen. the idea you could take that money from the defense budget, which didn't make the military a very happy and quiet to demilitarizing the strategic arsenal of the former soviet union. it is extremely important. like so many presidents, clinton had no background in politics. he went to the georgetown school, but that's not good enough as far as i'm concerned. he put together this, i hope i'm not offending anyone, he put together a weak national security team, all of them were gone within a year or two. when you look at christopher and
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lake, aston, many were very peculiar and clinton did something that needs to be corrected one of these days. he bowed to abolishing the arms control and disarmament agency and abolishing the united states information service. to institutions that we generally need in washington for the making of foreign policy. and of course, the expanded nato. it made no sense and the cold war is ending. it took credit for the winning of the cold war and more members from russia, even as george bush did, the former republic of the soviet union. into this alliance and you wonder why the russians are
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upset about that. and then finally clinton lost his nerve on things of this country needed to do in terms of international agreements. we need to be part of this be part of this ban on cluster bombs. all of the nations have signed these packs. it is what they call the rogue nations, and then we have the united states. then we get to george bush, and it is possible to talk about those eight years. the fact that this country reelected him does not say very much for any of us anywhere. always had misuse of intelligence to a certain degree.
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the mexican war in the 1840s, the spanish-american war. in vietnam as well. that was based on the misuse of intelligence. but you never had systematic distortion of intelligence the way that you had in the run-up to the iraqi war. you've never had someone tell the president it would be a slamdunk not help you make up your mind. but to help you convince the american people that we need to undertake this war. it was a total misuse of intelligence, and of course, it was dark intelligence. frankly, if you look at and you take the first three years, 2001 and he walked away to this treaty, it was the cornerstone of strategic deterrence.
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if he didn't have defensive missiles, whether they work or not, the only way to make a sound argument for really reducing the number of strategic defenses by not having a defensive system, that is likely deploying a national missile defense of these people in california. i have to tell you that it doesn't work because it doesn't recognize a decoy missile from a real missile. he really put $10 million a year into it. it is extremely expensive and we have been added since the eisenhower administration. in 2002, iran, which had been working with us secretly to
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quiet the afghan situation, woke up one morning to find out they were quite puzzled. so we have to do something to improve the relationship was undermined with that speech. in 2003, you get the iraq war, one of the war is that the united states had to engage in over the past decade. obama, unfortunately, he comes in with very little background in foreign policy and has never paid much attention to it, served in washington for only two years, and i was a very
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enthusiastic supporter of obama. but i think those of us knew that national security could be a problem. and when he pointed the secretary of state for domestic reasons, and he appointed him retired marine general to be the national security adviser, he put leon panetta, and i don't use one of your neighbors in california, but he was captured by the operations mentality and the cia. this was an extremely weak national security team. obama was also ruled by the military. that's why you have the surge of forces. i think that he realizes that he was had by the military. and i think that that is very important. one of the reasons why i am more optimistic about the second term
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as i think that this is a wiser man in terms of foreign policy, and if you look at the fact that he has ended the war in iraq, he was meandering toward ending the war in afghanistan and allowing the pentagon and you have to remember when you're looking at the pentagon, you're looking at an institution that has the fine motor skills of a dinosaur. it takes the pentagon a long time to put something together, such as a timetable for withdrawal. all obama has to do, and i know it is not that simple, but i would look at the gorbachev experience. he came in 1985, he gave a speech in 1986 denouncing afghanistan as a bleeding wound. he had secretly told schultz at the military was going to get one year to turn it around. and that they wouldn't be able to. he announced a timetable, and then he was gone and 89. we need to do something similar,
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the military had its chances, we had 11 commanders in afghanistan in 11 years, take a look at this book by the general, which devotes a lot of attention to this. that is not a war where we can be successful. that is not in the military we have. there is no military that has ever been successful with counterinsurgency. not only that, but they have an ally in pakistan where we survived with billions of dollars of military economic aid that makes the picture somewhat confusing as to how do you disengage from a situation where you are supporting a vertically integrated criminal enterprise by the karzai government. but i think we are finding our way to some resolution of the crisis. again, i don't know how many
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years this is going to take. >> my optimism, just to jump enough for a minute, the team is consisting of two good appointments that i wonder why obama wasted so much time with susan rice. when they have someone like john kerry whose career was devoted to becoming an astronaut to the position of secretary of state. chuck hagel is a wonderful nomination. the criticism of him is silly, i believe. people are throwing that around. it is embarrassing. embarrassing to see accusations like that. if you go back to eric miller's book, he talked about the
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israeli lobby on many occasions. so i don't quite know what the debate is all about. i think that it will disorders go away because it doesn't make a lot of sense. the trees to care about himself, giving adultery a very bad name. but what was obama thinking. but what was obama thinking with intelligence issues that we would have to grapple with. i could not think of a better scenario than having david petraeus at the cia. that's not what he had in mind
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in 1947. he did not want to put in the hands of military policymakers. what the cia was created for was to challenge military intelligence. the cia has done its job correctly and that is what they have done on things such as arms control or vietnam, for that matter. what needs to be done, and let me just check the time to, we don't have a lot of time. let me go over to areas very quickly. the first deals with the defense budget and the other that deals with the need to militarize the entire national security system. there is a chapter in the book and i'm not going to get into the specifics of the reduction that i could argue that you could take a trillion dollars very easily and have a defense budget over the next 10 years and you would still have the same level of spending in 2007.
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we spend as much for defense as the rest of the world combined. responsible for 75% of sales of sophisticated military equipment overseas. $75 billion last year. russia is the second most active merchant of arms, and they sell about $5 billion worth of military equipment. just look at the top six recipients of military aid and ask israel shouldn't be getting any aid from the united states. they don't need it. not in the united states. they no longer get economic aid.
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they certainly don't need military aid and they may have a self-sufficient military and thusly untrained in the street and they can afford to buy what they need. who knows what would happen when we reduce our presence there. pakistan, rock, you all know what the problems are in this situation. but if you go and look at the service structure and start with nuclear arms, thinking of the five to $6 trillion we have invested in nuclear arms that are essentially an unusable weapons system. what are we going to do with 70,000 nuclear weapons? that is how many nuclear weapons this country has developed since the cold war began. we still spend over 50 or $60 billion per year on our
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nuclear components. in 2009 a secret committee, a group of scientists and military specialist that report to the pentagon, they want to develop a new weapons system. the senator insisted on $80 billion for modernization. new modernization. very unnecessary. we don't even have a plan or strategy for all of the nuclear components are deployed. the air force and navy are tremendously overbuilt. the air force is facing a threat as well. if you look at the last two fighter aircraft programs, it
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was collapsing almost entirely. the first f-22 planes were supposed to cost 40 million per copy, by the time the last one rolled off the assembly line, it was something like 160 million. now we are repeating that and actually doubling down on the f-35. and lockheed martin is doing what they always do, making sure there is a component of the f-35 built in every state in this country. that 37 states have something to do with that, even john mccain said that he had sticker shock he saw what the final cost would be. eleven aircraft carriers as well, and china has one carrier, that is from the ukrainian navy. i don't know how good they feel about serving in this aircraft carrier, that is exactly what
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they had. we have over 200 bases and facilities, china has nothing outside of china itself. .. the kid saved a couple hundred billion dollars over the next ten years by reducing that to reasonable 360,000 soldiers.
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so there are just some of the things that could be done that could get you to that trillion dollars figure that people say would really disarmed the united states. no, it wouldn't. now, 4,807,000,000,000 has already been agreed to by the senate and house of the next ten years of sequestration that would involve another 4,902,000,000,000 which would get you close to trillion, but there won't be a sequestration. so that kind of cutback we will see, and we don't see anyone in the pentagon really working toward this. leon panetta has never really asked for it. so this creates a serious problem. now, demilitarization is a more important issue because what we have done is militarize the entire national security process i have a chapter here on the militarization of the intelligence community. it deals with all of the military people have been placed in positions that should be
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occupied by civilians, which a four-star air force general, michael laden, by the way, responsible of the national security agency for the warrantless eavesdropping which did not even come up in his confirmation hearings. i have mentioned david patraeus and never should have beat -- been put in charge of the cia for very obvious reasons. this department has become an increase neat to have extremely weak institution. we have not had an effective secretary of state for 20 years. schulz and becker with a less defective ones. how could have been, if anyone was willing to listen. no one was, and he really embarrassed himself by going to the united nations and repeating the phony cia national intelligence estimates from october 2002 that had the 20-some charges against iraq in the nuclear capabilities and terrorism, all of them wrong, every single one.
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so this institution has to be rebuilt, and i think we have to show more vision in the use of diplomacy. we need a timetable for afghanistan. we need to respond to diplomatic situations where obama could look very good in terms of seizing these opportunities. cuba may not be a major opportunity, but it certainly is low hanging fruit. cuba has made it clear they want a different relationship with the united states. really one who pursues is ridiculous policy toward not recognizing cuba. number three did something very interesting in 2009, the two young journalists stepped across the border and were arrested. the north koreans made clear that if you send bill clinton we will release these two women. well, why bill clinton? well, he negotiated the framework with north korea. i think this is something that they want to get back to with the united states in terms of bilateral negotiations because
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only the united states can guarantee essentially the security of north korea by assuring them we're not interested in regime change. so there is a sudden restlessness in the room, and i am probably gone on longer than i should. at me just close by saying, you're not going to have changed these situations were solve these problems by engaging in this same kind of thinking that got you into the problems in the first place. this is something albert einstein said american foreign-policy encountering just a mccarthy in the late 1940's, so it is time to, as lincoln would say, disenthrall ourselves in deal with the real world as it exists out there, and this will require a serious dialogue and serious change in the thinking of the people who occupy a very important positions in washington, and that is what the book is about. [applause]
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[inaudible] >> no. i took too much time. i'm glad you did. you should have cut me shorter. >> a lot of questions here. the defense budget. i think you touched upon this quite a bit. and a lot of people ask questions before you got to it. the question is, can we really reduce the defense budget? do you think it is too high? and the think there is any chance of doing so through congress? >> well, the chance of doing anything to congress's fraught with all sorts of peril. as i said at the outset, the defense budget is the third rail of american politics. hard to mention any real savings for real changes in the defense budget without antagonizing not
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only the republicans, but certain democrats. the senate looks at these weapons programs as jobs programs. they don't look at them as, why are we doing this, wire rebuilding this. lieberman, who is now not in the senate, but he is typical, huge defense in connecticut. the ec's submarine programs as part of a jobs program for connecticut. you have to so-called liberal senators. as well read in that mainstream media. they don't sound very liberal on any of that. and i'm not talking about abolishing the f35. i'm asking, why were originally going to build 3200? now i think it is 2400, but this is a system that was initially budgeted something like 70- 80000000 per plane. it is now up to 160 million, and
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they have not ironed out all the problems associated with it. it is going to be very difficult because of the way the five major military industrial firms have coopted. you have a congressman in california. i guess southern california, so you don't think it relates to you in northern california, but mckeon, head of the house armed services committee gets no money from lockheed martin in any other congressman. 385 of the where representatives of the 400 some in the congress did money from lockheed martin. indians district there is a marine devastation, and air force base, an army base. lockheed martin had its big r&d facility. buck mckeon never served in the military. one of these typical chicken hawks who cannot build enough of this military equipment. some of this goes back to madeleine albright, secretary of
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state under bill clinton. and you what -- you remember what she said of the indispensable -- indispensable nation which is dangerous talk. put it in the context she said it. if we have to use force, we are america, we are the indispensable nation. that is dangerous thinking. >> , the next popular question was, to what extent did it september 11 false flag operation by elements of the cia , what is your opinion about that september 11 to. >> reporter: was the coverup? >> well, it was not of false flight operation. that's silly. was -- the investigation was not a cover-up. i was not satisfied with the report because it did not go deeply enough into the intelligence failures. i have written about this in my last book, the failure of
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intelligence. it did not have to happen. there were very serious intelligence failures. there was a wonderful inspector general's report done that would probably never be released, and that thing part of the so-called intelligence reform which has been a real setback was the exploit the problems of what the cia got wrong in terms of the run tech 9/11. and i think people like colin riley of the fbi who was ignored by the fbi and knows who was calling for certain intelligence activities in certain areas, we probably could have prevented 9/11. but i don't call it a cover-up. i call it inadequate in the same way the rural warren report on the kennedy assassination was inadequate, because it did not look every scenario.
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developed as an area which the fbi should never do in this training, develop one scenario and then create all of the assumptions around that without looking in various areas. >> the other question, the water boarding never occurred. what is your opinion? did he say that? >> he said that they did not torture. he did not say what are boarding did not occur. we know water boarding occurred. rodriquez is typical of the cia's double standard. if you are a former cia officer who says things that are attracted to the cia and supportive of the cia, you can get things cleared. rodriquez, who was instrumental in conducting torture and abuse. and that no one to pick on california, but you have a
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professor of here at the university of california berkeley -- maybe he is moved. still in california somewhere. he helped to write five memos that fortunately were released that permitted torture at a certain level. but my problem with obama has always been the torture that the cia conducted went beyond what the justice department said was permissible. this country should not torture. the number one authority on torture in this country is john mccain who was tortured overlong amount of time. has been a huge critic of this country conducting torture. what is going to happen to american officials, military, intelligence officials, armed service of those shows to wind up in hands of others who know that the united states has been torturing? you know, where did benghazi
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have to do with anger about the role of the cia in the middle east? that has never been explored. will we always looked at it, benghazi is the problem of a consulate. that was a very loosely constructed consulate. i thought it was an intelligence platform. a lot of anger about rendition, torture and abuse in a secret prisons, and we really have swept all that under the rug in this country. a lot of us thought that obama would address of this, and he is not. you know, guantanamo remains open, but if someone has written an op-ed in the new york times, the people at guantanamo are really better off than if there were brought to the united states to serve in prisons here in this country, given what has happened to guantanamo because of human rights watch and the red cross keeping an eye on things. this tremendous anger throughout the middle east and north africa
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, and that is why americans take a certain amount of risk when they serve overseas and what has just happened in algeria is just another reminder of the peril. all of that is within the context of activity that has been taking place for the last ten years. again, it is about the overuse, i think, of military violence. we have a situation right now with regard to the drones. we need a legal architecture for use of the drones. resetting an incredible precedent. israel has drones. hezbollah has at least one from that overflew israel. what happens when russia starts using them against former soviet republics or china? you know, what kind of world do we want to create? too many things that we do we do because we can without thinking, you know, it's a national
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missile defense. we can develop national missile defense. the fact that it does not work does not seem to concern anyone, but we still portend billion dollars into it every year because we can instead of not having missile defense and get serious about cutting back strategic offensive arms. we still have 2500 deployed, 2500 reserve and a couple thousand others. tactical nukes still have not been addressed. there is a lot to do. maybe if we had an arms control and disarmament agency that runs and abolished because jesse helms made in nervous, maybe we can address those things. what happens -- there used to be an arms control lobby in this country that was quite effective. i don't see much of their activity anymore. >> the other question was, we have been very successful rebuilding the country. world war two, japan, germany. how come it's difficult to do
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nation-building in iraq in afghanistan? >> because they are not nation's a problem with afghanistan is, we are trying to do with the soviets tried to do, taking a page out of their playbook which is, you come in and try to build a centralized government. when has afghanistan ever had a centralized government? is run in a decentralized way and what i see happening already with the fact that we have taken up 302,000 in the search forces are no longer there, now they're going back even more aggressively toward decentralization. the warlords are getting active. the ethnic tribes are getting more active. iraq and some claims to being a nation state, but it was sitting on this triad of people that
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some hussein said on with force. once you remove that force, we have no plan for what we were going to do. other people thought that we went in there for the oil. i don't think so. stay over long-term? no. d'agata classified briefings from the pentagon. we went in in march to my belief. you are going to be out, for the most part, by the end of the year. there is no long-term plan. in fact, if you're going to fall published administration for something which is why i think that book was unfair, we discourage to think the about what to do with regard to iraq. so then we had to work by the seat of our pants. by the time we left we were not too sure everything, but we had this false confidence that somehow this general would conduct a surgeon at is automated difference. what made differences that soon the awakening which was started before he ever got there. it was general casey.
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and they encouraged them to get involved because of what al qaeda was doing to their country , the incredible violence which still with the dispute between the factions. but we have this idea, we did it from the soviet union and for china, but these are totalitarian groups. the black box organizations, and once they make a proclamation everyone salutes the proximity of pocket -- proclamation. that's not true. these groups have different ways of acting. what happened in money -- molly, someone walked away from al qaeda so it makes it very hard to work in that environment because we don't have great intelligence on these organizations. we don't know what we're doing in afghanistan or rock. >> and we never know how to get out.
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we have learned that. >> one last question. says you have security clearance of this time, will you make a speech or write a book? do you have to have clearance from any of the authorities? >> who ask that question? i have never submitted a speech or, you know, article. this book was submitted. there were suggestions that were called for. i made some. i provided footnotes to explain others. i challenge the ones that i thought had nothing to do with classified material. i never heard anything then.
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so the -- [laughter] >> thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you. thank you very much. thanks for this session. i enjoyed it. >> we will have a book signing in the library. >> book tv is on facebook. like us to interact with book tv guests and viewers to watch videos, and get up-to-date information on events. facebook / book tv. you're watching c-span2 with politics and public affairs weekdays featuring live coverage of the u.s. senate. on week nights want the public policy events. every weekend, the lettuce nonfiction authors and books on book tv. you can see past programs and get our schedules and our website, and you can join in the conversation on social media
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sites. >> here is where the story starts to get interesting. here is where the group's stock and to meet each other. i am condensing a lot of things, but i'll give you the basic just sent off to fort leavenworth. a lot of people in the army did not really like him. they didn't like officers to work to bookies or who stood up too much. and petreaus was guilty on both counts. so he is sent to fort leavenworth, kansas. a lot of people a thinking, oh, that's great. the fair hair boy, and rescinding about the pastor, chilly. but he gets to fort leavenworth and realizes something. he realizes that this is actually the intellectual center of the army. they write doctrine. they form the curriculum of the command and general staff college. they organized a national training centers. they -- the lessons for one
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affects the lessons of the other which affects the patterns of the next. in the sense of the sea is learning all this, what kind of power see potentially as he says , holy cow. he talks like that. he says things like holy cow, jeepers, super. he says, holy cow, we put an insurgent in charge of the change. he views himself as an insurgent. now, meanwhile -- meanwhile -- there are a lot of meanwhiles in this book. meanwhile, there is a professor at the school of advanced international studies in washington d.c. named elliot cahn. a military historian. also a leading neo conservative. he was one of the few folks signing petitions that we have to invade and overthrow saddam force. he is also a member of the defense policy advisory board. and so he goes over to take a look at what is going on. the only member of this or that goes there. he sees it is a disaster.
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there is this insurgency mounting, and no one knows what to do about it. he comes back feeling really upset because, again, feeling kind of panes of guilt because, you know, he was advising this administration and an advocate for this war. his son, who graduated from harvard had recently joined the army and was going to be sent there. he would be sent into this mess. so he thinks -- well, he has to do something about this. he sets up a seminar in basin harbor, vermont. and he goes through his rolodex and through military journals. he fights -- invites everybody can find u.s. written anything remotely interesting about the subject of counterinsurgency warfare. he comes up about 30 people. and they all assemble in basin harbor for five days to discuss these things. the pivotal thing about this meeting is not so much what they discussed but that they meant.
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once these people did not know each other before. they did not know of one another's existence. they thought they were out on land, you know, on a daring and just trying stephanotis going to read that was weigh against what was going on in the mainstream army. a lot of these people were junior officers, some of them are mid-level officials within tintypes. and they realized, they formed a community and might be able to do something if they work together. so they come away from basin harbor with a great sense of mission. meanwhile, patraeus, sitting in -- meanwhile, petreaus sitting in leavenworth demean as these people at this conference. summer students our colleagues are people who had been under his command. and he decides one thing that he is going to do is write a new counterinsurgency field manual for the army. there had not been one for 20 years. he draws on this crew from the
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basin harbor conference to be his inner circle, to be his age, to be the people who help him write this conference. no, it's outside the usual doctrinal channels within the army. so things happen at the end of 2006. one, there is midterm elections. democrats when. bushfires rumsfeld and hired get -- higher gates. number two, it is announced that petreaus will be going back to iraq as the top commander. number three, bush announces that he is ordering a surge of troops, something like 20,000 troops. number four, and he is changing strategy to reasons in the counterinsurgency strategy. he calls it clear, hold, and build, which was an old phrase that came out of some of these books, the atf being that you clearing area of insurgents. then you stay there and hold it.
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you don't just turn it over to the iraqis right away. you stay there, and then you help build an infrastructure and help the government provide basic services, build trust in the community, help build a security structure. so, these four things would not happen by coincidence. it was all part of this plot. by the way, when i use the word plot i generally and not a conspiracy guy, but these people refer to themselves as a plot. they call themselves the cobol or the west point mafia because a lot of them came out of the social science department of west point, which had a tradition of forming networks among their own graduates. so this is very conscious. for example, all of this happened not by coincidence. for a example, petreaus, when he was in leavenworth to me was not just sitting in leavenworth. he had a vast network of old college -- throughout the
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pentagon bureaucracy he is reaching out. he deliberately far as a back channel and cultivates this woman in the white house named megan of sullivan who was president bush's chief adviser on a rock for the national security council. he sees that she is kind of wavering from the existing policy. he cultivates her from the back channel, talking and the phone practically every day. now, picture this. really kind of outrageous. here is petreaus, a 3-star general in fort leavenworth talking on the phone every day with the senior adviser to the president of the united states. she will be asking him, you know, general casey, who is the four-star general actually commanding troops, general casey says we only need one more brigade. what do you think? and petreaus would muster these arguments that she could funnel to her seniors on why this really isn't enough. so, you know -- and when it comes to washington elites in
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out of the way restaurants -- by the way, this is not a paul abroad will situation. this is strictly professional, but can you imagine, this is someone -- he is essentially subverting the chain of command to get its own views across. he has always kind of been an off the reservation guide. he had gone his own way in doing what was necessary here in leavenworth he's doing what needs to be done. at the same time their is a civilian analyst to use to teach history at west point named fred melvin goodman who has written a study advocating a surge at the american enterprise institute. petreaus and his contacts use their connections to get this study into the white house, directly to the president coming into the pentagon to the new secretary of defense but to some of the subordinates who are chasing the restrictions. so that basically by the time petreaus beat-up -- by the time
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petreaus becomes the top commander, it's all lined up so that he can go in and impose the strategy that he wants to impose with the fault premature of the united states government, army and the president of the united states. this is not a coincidence. it has all been very explicitly coordinated. >> you can watch this and other programs online at
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